Original Article

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 8-12

First online:

The role of temperature in the onset of the Olea europaea L. pollen season in southwestern Spain

  • C. GalánAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Córdoba, Spain
  • , H. García-MozoAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Córdoba, Spain
  • , P. CariñanosAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Córdoba, Spain
  • , P. AlcázarAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Córdoba, Spain
  • , E. Domínguez-VilchesAffiliated withDepartamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Córdoba, Spain

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Abstract 

Temperature is one of the main factors affecting the flowering of Mediterranean trees. In the case of Olea europaea L., a low-temperature period prior to bud development is essential to interrupt dormancy. After that, and once a base temperature is reached, the plant accumulates heat until flowering starts. Different methods of obtaining the best-forecast model for the onset date of the O. europaea pollen season, using temperature as the predictive parameter, are proposed in this paper. An 18-year pollen and climatic data series (1982–1999) from Cordoba (Spain) was used to perform the study. First a multiple-regression analysis using 15-day average temperatures from the period prior to flowering time was tested. Second, three heat-summation methods were used, determining the the quantities heat units (HU): accumulated daily mean temperature after deducting a threshold, growing degree-days (GDD): proposed by Snyder [J Agric Meteorol 35:353–358 (1985)] as a measure of physiological time, and accumulated maximum temperature. In the first two, the optimum base temperature selected for heat accumulation was 12.5°C. The multiple-regression equation for 1999 gives a 7-day delay from the observed date. The most accurate results were obtained with the GDD method, with a difference of only 4.7 days between predicted and observed dates. The average heat accumulation expressed as GDD was 209.9°C days. The HU method also gives good results, with no significant statistical differences between predictions and observations.

Keywords Aerobiology Forecasting Olea europaea Heat summation methods